Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

ZSers #EmbraceEquity for International Women’s Day

March 8, 2023 | Article | 4-minute read

ZSers #EmbraceEquity for International Women’s Day

Every March, ZSers around the world come together to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). During this time, Women@ZS (one of our diversity, equity and inclusion groups) host in-person and virtual office events, encouraging ZSers to think about the year’s IWD theme. This year’s theme is one closely aligned to our culture: #EmbraceEquity. Making ZS an equitable environment is something we’ve been working hard to implement.


In 2019, our Women@ZS leaders hosted an event, sponsored by BPeace, focused on closing the “design gap” that exists because many products are designed by men for men—not considering the unique needs of women. This event inspired Women@ZS to launch an ambitious initiative to understand what gets in the way of women’s engagement, how we could redesign the workplace to remove those hidden barriers and foster inclusion by design. Our research uncovered numerous unique challenges faced by women across our industry.


This year, our IWD sessions will be a space to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of our women ZSers, share our research and pilot programs that address hidden barriers for women, and continue to activate our allyship community by giving real tips about how to #EmbraceEquity.

Where passion changes lives

To live our values of treating people right, getting it right and doing the right thing, ZS implements various training and educational programs that aim to #EmbraceEquity. Training sessions about topics such as bias in hiring and inclusive leadership work to ensure we are providing an equitable and inclusive workspace for all ZSers. ZS also offers allyship learning initiatives, like the Empowering Allies and Champions (EACH) program. This five-week program has been transformational for our male leaders across ZS as they move through self-reflection, interviews and interactive sessions designed to broaden their lens on the experience that women have in the workplace. Participants leave ready to embrace equity saying it “was one of the most eye-opening journeys I've experienced professionally” and it “helped me move from vague notions, to awareness, to intention and ultimately to action.”


Read below to learn more about how ZSers #EmbraceEquity everyday:

“The first step must be our own. The only way to show our belief toward something is to reflect that in our own life and lead by example. Embracing equity is a fundamental belief I live with, not just today on IWD but every day of my life. Our ZS core principles of do it right, get it right and treat people right have always been the guiding force for us—embracing equity is just an extension of this.


“In the last year, I have enjoyed being a part of the Path-to-Principal program. My biggest takeaway is the rich network of fellow women PAMs in India who may be struggling with the same dilemmas as me. I have developed strong relationships with them and I am sure we inspire each other in many ways. The power of a network can be so strong.


“Wishing everyone Happy Women’s Day. More power to this group!”


—Anuja Chandan, decision analytics manager in Pune

“Women@ZS is a community that I felt a strong sense of support for me to enable professional growth while helping in the choices I have in my career. It was especially helpful to know that there is a platform that covers topics on career development with consultants across global offices, together with topics such as starting a family that would be helpful for long-term planning.”


—Jung Hyun Kim, associate consultant in Singapore

“I have been fortunate enough to be the European lead for the allies function of Women@ZS for the past few years. Our aim has been to embed a culture of allyship at ZS, improving awareness and engagement around gender issues and promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone.


“Recently our focus has been on how we can be better champions for women through our ‘4 Faces of a Champion’ initiative, which highlighted all the different ways in which we can support and advocate for women in the workplace. 


“I have learnt so much in this role but recognize that there is still much more for me to learn. It is a continuous journey of education coupled with consistent action toward improved gender equity.”


—Josh Weekly, strategy insights and planning consultant in London

“Women@ZS has always provided me with a strong sense of community and support. Some of the most powerful moments have been when we get together as women during in-office events and share our candid thoughts, beliefs and struggles. As a local office lead in Frankfurt, my goal is to raise awareness and engagement for Women@ZS among office colleagues of all genders, as well as plan events to foster these moments of connection and growth that create impact in our lives.”


—Nadezhda Hristova, strategy insights and planning consultant in Frankfurt

“I feel fortunate to have helped develop the first allyship training for more junior ZSers. I took the best of the five-week executive training and turned it into a three-week pilot for the emerging pharma team. Being on this team made me feel proud to be part of a company willing to invest in creating a safer, more inclusive work environment for all.


“From this experience I've learned that proactive allyship is something that we all can (and should) incorporate into our daily lives. I have discovered that even the smallest words and actions go a long way in ensuring that everyone, regardless of gender identity or expression, feels a sense of belonging at work.


“While I am still at an early stage in my allyship journey, I have started to increasingly recognize the privilege that I hold (even as a junior associate) and the responsibility that I have in elevating the voices of my female colleagues and calling out problematic behavior and language whenever possible.”


—Rory Plewman, strategy insights and planning associate in San Diego

“For me, International Women’s Day is a day of celebration and reckoning. It brings to light many questions: How successful are we at creating an equitable environment across ZS? At increasing representation of women? At removing hidden barriers and truly transforming ZS’s culture, processes and tools?


“This year, we’ve doubled down on our investment internally, by adding a new team member, Lauren Fryc [pictured above, top] from the Boston office, who is our full-time Global Program Lead for Women@ZS. We continue to invest in equity action programs across ZS that provide direct support to groups of people who have specific needs. I see a groundswell of people across ZS taking up the banner to #EmbraceEquity and move ZS forward to a truly human-centered workplace. I pledge to continue to grow as an inclusive leader—finding and removing hidden barriers for our women and other underrepresented groups.”


—Anne Brocchini, Women@ZS strategy and innovations lead in San Francisco


Thank you to all the ZSers who #EmbraceEquity and continue to create a more inclusive world. Happy International Women’s Day! For more on life at ZS, follow us on social media.

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